Detail of The Black Luminous Sea, 1982, by Joe Miller. Watercolor on paper, 15 x 23 inches.


Joe Miller: Unlike Earth
August 29–November 9, 2015

Opening Reception: August 28, 6–8 pm.
Sponsor: The Lester M. and Bernice Smith Foundation

The San Juan Islands Museum of Art (IMA) is delighted to announce an exhibition of paintings by San Juan Island artist Joe Miller. “Unlike Earth” presents a survey of seventeen exquisitely rendered images of unworldly structure and vibratory color. This is the first museum exhibition devoted to Miller’s “colorfolds,” a term which references the process by which he makes the paintings.

Miller’s colorfold pieces involve intricately folding paper whose exposed surfaces are painted. He then unfolds the paper one fold at a time, exposing the next unpainted surface, which he then paints, continuing until the paper is completely unfolded and the painting is finished. As such, the paintings present a chain of visual thought and illustrate states of the artist’s mind over time. Within these boldly rendered paintings we see memories of mountains and rivers, star-streaked skies, and the slow accretion and erosion of rock. At times crystalline, at times Rorschach-esque, these paintings provide unique insight to Miller’s evolving relationship to the Earth.

Joe Miller works abundantly in a variety of media, including oils, acrylics, watercolor, oil pastel, and India ink. Born and raised in the mountains of the West, Joe Miller studied drawing and painting at the University of Notre Dame, earned a BFA at the University of Utah and an MS in Art at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally including exhibitions at Middlebury College Museum of Art, Albany Institute of Art, and the Owensboro Museum of Fine Art.

Over the past five decades, Joe Miller has received many honors and awards for his work as an artist, including an NEA Artist-in-Residence grant to work in Arches, Bryce Canyon, and Zion National Parks in Utah. He is also the subject of two films: The Joe Miller Painting a Painting for a Film Film, produced by Roger Darbonne, Oxnard, California, and A Sense of Place: The Artist and the American Land, a two-hour documentary of eleven artists across the United States, produced by Nebraska Educational Television.